Many methods are available for the grading of tooth wear, but their ability to assess the progression of wear over time has not been studied frequently. The aim was to assess whether the occlusal/incisal grading scale of the Tooth Wear Evaluation System (TWES) was sensitive enough for the detection of tooth wear progression from 14 to 23 years of age. A total of 120 sets of dental casts were gathered from 40 people, of whom impressions were made at 14, 18 and 23 years. The TWES was used to assess loss of clinical crown height throughout the entire dentition. There was a significant difference in the TWES scores between the three age groups on all teeth (Friedman tests; P < 0·005 in all cases). Post hoc Wilcoxon tests revealed that the difference between the scores between 14 and 18 years and between 18 and 23 was significant for most teeth. It was concluded that the TWES is sensitive enough to detect changes in tooth wear over time.